December 6, 2012

The Glory of These Forty Days / Clarum Decus Jejunii

Christ, by Whom All Things were Made

The Glory of These Forty Days is a 1906 translation by Anglican Minister, Maurice F. Bell (1862-1947) of the 6th century latin hymn Clarum Decus Jejunii, attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604). It was traditionally sung at Matins during Lent. The Glory of These Forty Days is set to the Lutheran hymn tune Spires (Erhalt' uns, Herr) by Joseph Klug (1523-1552). First published in 1543 with later harmonies added by J.S. Bach (1685-1750). In the Liturgy of the Hours it is used during Lent.

Tune: Spires

THE GLORY OF THESE FORTY DAYS by Maurice F. Bell, 1906 (Public Domain)

1. The glory of these forty days
We celebrate with songs of praise;
For Christ, by Whom all things were made,
Himself has fasted and has prayed.

2. Alone and fasting Moses saw
The loving God Who gave the law;
And to Elijah, fasting, came
The steeds and chariots of flame.

3. So Daniel trained his mystic sight,
Delivered from the lions’ might;
And John, the Bridegroom’s friend, became
The herald of Messiah’s Name.

4. Then grant us, Lord, like them to be
Full oft in fast and prayer with Thee;
Our spirits strengthen with Thy grace,
And give us joy to see Thy face.

5. O Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
To thee be every prayer addressed,
Who art in threefold Name adored,
From age to age, the only Lord.


1. Clarum decus jejunii
Monstratur orbi coelitus,
Quod Christus Auctor omnium
Cibis dicavit abstinens.

2. Hoc Moyses carus Deo
Legisque lator factus est,
Hoc Helyam per aera
Curru levavit igneo.

3. Hinc Daniel mysteria
Victor leonum viderat,
Per hoc amicus intimus
Sponsi Johannes claruit.

4. Hec nos sequi dona, Deus,
Exempla parcimonise,
Tu robur auge mentium
Dans spiritale gaudium. 

5. Presta, Pater, per Filium,
Proesta per almum Spiritum,
Cum His per eevum triplici
Unus Deus cognomine. Amen.

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